Monthly Archives

September 2021

BACS IT Remote Workforce Safety Hero

Creating a Secure Remote Workforce

By | Business Continuity, Data Protection, managed It services, Productivity, Security, Technology, Work Remotely

In a few brief years, organizations of all sizes have been driven to redeploy their workforce from office to home or some hybrid solution. To suggest this was a deliberate move from corporate leaders would be false. Instead, the harried move has been in response to an unexpected world pandemic.

No one is sure if the remote workforce may grow into a stable fixture, a shift back to the office, or a home/office combination. No matter the case, a solid security solution must invariably be maintained as a central priority. 

BACS IT Secure Remote Workforce

Technologies Protecting the Home Worker

Even though the pandemic rages on, some corporations have signaled they may never go back to an in-office work atmosphere. A few companies are considering a hybrid solution, while others have called their employees back to the office permanently.

Current Technologies in Place, Protecting the Home Workforce:

  • Zero Trust has been a part of the networked system for some time. However, with recent developments, the zero-trust policy is being forced to take on a more substantial role. The Zero Trust model is a secure remote application based on a defined set of login rules for employees and devices to the network. Non-compliant devices are either quarantined or rejected out-right.
  • SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a method for wide-area networking and security. SASE is Cloud Service which bundles security, network, and policy functions, sending the information back to the source as a separate cloud service.
  • Identity Access Management is a broad framework of technologies and practices that ensures the right users access the appropriate resources.

Enterprise security foundations are being built on the three legacy technologies. However, more cyber-attacks are coming. Keeping home workers safe and company data secure means businesses must look at cyber-security issues from start to finish. One of the initial elements of a healthy plan is a Policy Statement.

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Policy

Taking employees out of their work situation and moving to an unstructured home/office environment is imposing for anyone. The first component a company must provide is a Cyber Work from Home Policy. The key to this document is setting the right expectations.

A work from home policy document must create an infrastructure to protect the worker from every intrusion.  The policy must seek to mitigate the dangers of such a radical move.  With the proper preparation, a policy can keep your team connected, safe, and rewarded.

A sound Policy Statement should empower your employees. Consider the following:

  • Trust: A Work from home worker must be fully invested in the company’s success. With the correct type of trust, an employee will go above and beyond what they are called on to accomplish. A company must establish a higher level of trust to cement the engagement bond.
  • More Time: The average American commute is 52 minutes a day. Policy statements need to point to this extra time and direct the employee to their families or themselves, rather than more work.
  • Focused Work: Office distractions are eliminated when working from home. Your team should be encouraged to schedule tasks that require an intense focus on certain days of the week.
  • Absenteeism and Lateness: Office norms are no longer an issue with a home/work environment. However, time is a premium, and home employees must be instructed to use that time productively.
  • WellRounded: Work from home employees must be encouraged to cultivate a complete family and life environment. Take time for passion projects and family hobbies. Well-rounded employees perform better at work.

It is essential to define the scope and purpose of the policy. Too short on procedure and employees may get stuck with making up their own rules. Too long, and no one will read or pay attention to the document.

Expectation is a vital part of a remote workforce. Employees must understand what is expected of them without being overly demanding. Responsibility plays a vital role.  Each person in the organization needs to understand security is a priority for everyone. If there is a problem, there should be procedures in place to fix the issues.  

 

BACS IT Keeping Your Remote Workforce Secure

 

Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is must-have security feature for any business and specifically those with a burgeoning remote workforce.  Vulnerabilities are everywhere. Recently it was discovered hackers were rerouting  SMS messages from 2FA apps and diverting money directly from bank records.

The following five authenticator applications are for the distributed enterprise:

  • Duo Mobile is used for corporate networks and is a part of Cisco. Enterprise features such as multi-user deployment, provisioning, and one-tap authentication. Back-up is to Google Drive and iCloud.
  • Google Authenticator is a no-frills basic authenticator app. Google seems content for Users to employ Android as its two Factor Authentication. Potential users may wish to have additional apps to fall back on.  However, this is a great authenticator.
  •  Last Pass is a comprehensive authenticator with full integration with its password manager.  Installation is a breeze, and users can quickly authorize the app with the push of a button. The Last Pass Vault is extremely helpful when moving the account to a new phone. Seamless operation between mobile and the desktop.
  •  Microsoft Authenticator works with the entire Microsoft ecosystem. A complete set of authentication tools are available for desktop and mobile. Pin or biometric logins are available. Sync the system with your primary Microsoft account to use the full capabilities.
  • Twilio Authy offers several advanced two-factor authentication features. First and foremost, it is their encrypted backup to Google drive that makes the app unique. The app makes abundant use of encryption across its platform, with encrypted logins.

Advanced authenticator apps generate time-based codes that refresh every 30 seconds. Hackers may gain access but will not work after the time code expires. Each of the apps above is exceptional for a distributed enterprise.

Do you want cloud solutions, but you are not sure which ones will help your remote workforce best? Then download our guide that covers the questions you need to know before migrating to a cloud. If you have more questions after you read our download, then contact us!

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Remote Access Software

Remote Access Software is ideal for specialized functions within the remote workforce. Remote Access apps and Desktop software allow users to access a computer in a remote location anywhere in the world as if they were sitting at the screen.

Some Remote Access software is designed for personal use, while alternatives are strictly for the enterprise.  Smartphone apps can be designed to access desktop systems.

Software and Apps for the Remote Workforce

Nothing is as fundamental to the security of a remote workforce as the software and apps used for an efficient worker. Proper design and the unique demands of the remote worker are paramount in shaping the applications needed for the enterprise.

Password Managers

In a world of multiple access to various business and personal accounts, password managers rise to the top of a critical needs list. It is crucial to have an authority system everyone is comfortable handling. Do not force an operation on employees!

Here are five good managers:

  • Nord-Pass is an attractive application with outstanding encryption features. Support for seven browsers, chat, and a data breach scanner makes the Nord-Pass an interesting choice.
  • Enpass combines a minimalist look and maximum security. Cloud host and SQL cipher for added security.
  • ZOHO Vault is a well-known application with valuable elements for a distributed network. A built-in VPN and a deep web scanner are useful quality-added factors.
  • Passbolt is an open-source application developed for the enterprise. Plenty of transparency and customization options are available.
  • Keeper supports various devices and browsers and comes with 5G of storage—a feature-rich app with instant messaging.

Advanced Password Technologies

Automated password management is coming into its own. The widespread endorsement of artificial intelligence and, specifically, machine learning have fostered many unique facets of password technologies.

Automated password reset tools are enterprise applications needed to automatically reset a host of new account passwords without human intervention. Many small businesses are implementing these tools for security and convenience.

Password Vault Technology is an earlier approach that is experiencing new technologies. A password vault keeps an infinite number of passwords and account data in a secure digital location. A single master password is required to access the vault.  

Management tools for the enterprise use several security layers to ward off internal and external threats from stealing login credentials. Many of these centralized management strategies are now cloud-based and heavily encrypted for the ultimate remote security.

Password Vaulting is a coined phrase that takes highly sensitive executive accounts and passwords out of the control of company IT personnel. The vault is digitally secured in locations known exclusively to a few in the enterprise.

Risk, Threats, and Solutions for the Enterprise

Statistics that illustrate the breadth of cyber-attacks are overwhelming. In the first quarter of 2021, strikes against Fortinet’s SSL-VPN were up an astonishing 1.916%. Another popular VPN service, Pulse Connect Secure VPN, encountered a 1,527% hike in assaults.

VPNs are separate networks within a public network where users send and receive data as if their machines were directly connected. VPNs are now encrypting data as it leaves the device, and any IP address is suppressed. Remote servers secure network activity by storing data remotely.

Companies are using all the communication tools at their disposal to secure connections for their hybrid workers. The Remote Desktop Protocol is another mechanism that is experiencing rising attacks.  Developed by Microsoft,  the RDP establishes a graphical link to another computer. Attacks on RDPs are seeing the same proportion increase of intrusions.

Modern Solutions

Companies are progressing beyond the traditional VPN services to a more protected environment. A recent survey of global leaders found that 40% of all respondents are planning a move to the ZTNA/SDP protocol. In comparison, 38% expressed the need for a more robust multi-factor authentication model.

The ZTNA/SDP is a zero-trust architecture based on a defined credential networking framework. SDP adds a need-to-know design, and the default is, “deny services to all.”

Enterprise VPN Service

Cisco AnyConnect: Cisco is a world leader in device security. The largest companies on the planet rely on Cisco networking machines. AnyConnect offers a lower overall cost of ownership, continuous automation from endpoint to endpoint encrypted security.

AnyConnect works on hybrid, full remote, or any combination in between. Robust MFA protocols are employed, threats are eliminated at the access point, and world-class analytics. There is no better VPN service for the enterprise than Cisco’s AnyConnect.

Cisco offers several cutting-edge technologies no other company comes close to providing. Umbrella Roaming is a cloud-based security service that supports users even when they are away from the VPN.

Under Attack

The enterprise is undergoing unprecedented attacks from criminals thousands of miles away. High-profile attacks are making headlines every day.

What are the primary attack vectors?

  • Supply Chains are under siege. Weak third-party vendors are causing havoc for large corporate businesses. Cyber attackers look for the weakest link in the chain and attack. Two of the most significant breaches, LabCorp and Quest, the attack originated from their online payment system.
  • Unpatched and Obsolete systems. No other area of the network is as preventable as keeping systems updated with available patching. An Apache Struts Web Framework was unpatched and contributed to 145 million social security numbers being exposed.
  • Compromised credentials are an enormous headache for the enterprise. Billions of stolen credentials are accessible for the taking on the dark web. Cyber-criminals use this vector as an entrance point because of its simplicity of stealing login information.

What is the Best IT Security Solution?

Will the relentless tide of cyber-attacks ever end? In a word, No! As long as the rewards are substantial, cyber-criminals find no need to slow down their aggressions. The “it can never happen to me, syndrome” is prevalent in every industry. There will always be that one staff member that will click on the apparent malware or ransomware email.

The sharpest minds in corporate security have provided a number of great tools for the enterprise. Each new cyber-attack creates a flood of new attacks and modifications.  Cyber-attacks have risen to one of the top ten corporate concerns for the next decade.

The World Economic Forum has determined that the money to keep pace with cyber threats worldwide will cost the enterprise nearly $90 trillion. Those dollars are merely keeping pace, not beating the attacker.

In the digital age, cyber resilience will happen with effective leadership and the secure design of infrastructures. First and foremost, corporate leaders must understand the foundations of cyber-security, and position their teams as enablers rather than casualties.

We wrote a guide on safety when it comes to working from home. Take a moment and read some of the safety and security tips we put in this guide.

Download the Guide

BACS IT is Here to Help Keep Your Remote Workforce Secure

When you want to protect your remote workforce, turn to the experienced Bay Area IT Consultants here at BACS IT. We will discuss your specific needs and create a security plan that fits your business. We can even help with unique security needs, so contact us. 

 

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

BACS IT Email Threats and Solutions

Advanced Email Threats and Solutions

By | Business Continuity, Data Protection, managed It services, Productivity, Security, Technology

Email is the most incredible communication medium ever created for personal and professional use. From the application’s humble beginnings in 1965, 270 billion emails are now delivered every day.

No other form of communication is as powerful and efficient as email.

It is challenging to nail down when the first email hack occurred. However, it is safe to say; attacks have been going on for much longer than documented.  The first email account hacked may have occurred back in 1965 at MIT, when email was created.

Rise in Email Threats

Each year, email attacks continue to rise. Business and personal accounts are doorways to a much bigger payoff for the attacker. Statistics bear out the frightening surge in email threats.

  • 96% of all cyber-attacks to your framework is by email
  • According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach report, 74% of all phishing scams come through email.
  • 22% of all breaches involved phishing.
  • Only 3% of users reported suspicious emails to authorities.

In the last few years, extraordinary times have changed the email threat landscape from passive attacks to highly aggressive intrusion teams. The bulk of infrastructure raids and widespread malware assaults come through unsuspecting email users.

Security gateways and software management designed for the Cloud has begun to stem the tide of low-level spam and bad link intrusions to email. 

BACS IT Ohishing and Email Threats

Phishing scams and malware attacks have shared characteristics:

  • Unfamiliar Greeting
  • Blatant spelling errors
  • Threats to a “Sense of Urgency”
  • Attachments
  • Email addresses are inconsistent

Security agencies worldwide are bracing for more destructive Ransomware and DDoS attacks. Saudi Aramco suffered the most significant and destructive cyber-attack ever recorded. In a few short hours, over 35,000 computers were wiped out. The resulting cost to the company was well over $50 million.

User Apathy

Employees from some of the largest companies worldwide were surveyed on phishing and malware attacks, a staggering 48% of respondents  saying, “it cannot happen to me.”  User apathy has developed into a leading concern for every business.

The weakest link behind every keyboard is the end-user. Companies must start extensive user education.  IT departments must provide the employee a stronger sense of involvement.

However, there will invariably be that one person who will click on anything.

It is imperative to identify the weakest link in a network before cyber-criminals find their entrance point. Once the attacker has infiltrated your company, they are now a user operating from within the network. Once inside, detection is virtually impossible.

BACS IT Security Breach and Email Threats

Ransomware, Malicious Intent, DDos, and Email Threats

Ransomware and other malicious attacks have exploded since the beginning of the global pandemic. Years before, cyber-criminals were invading infrastructure targets with little to no fanfare. Now, the world is aware and playing catch-up.

Cyber-criminals only require one user’s email account for access to thousands of computer systems. Every industry is a target; pipeline infrastructure, healthcare, and the public sector are especially vulnerable.

New markets for cyber-criminals are opening up, such as the Cloud and, sadly, K-12 schools.

94% of all cyber-attacks originate from email!

How do Ransomware and malicious code happen? Any digital means can be used as an access point. USB drivers, social media, business attachments are all delivery vectors. Email remains the number one entry point for cyber-attack.  Criminals prefer attachments first and links second.

Phishing attacks are addressed as fake delivery notifications or requests for software updates. The unsuspecting user clicks a link or attachment: a transparent download starts, and the attack begins.

Cyber-criminals have ungraded their encryption capabilities, using RSA 2048-bit private key encryption. This coding is impossible to break.

Do you know how to spot email threats? Check out our Signs of Email Threats You Need to Know!

Signs of Email Threats You Need to Know BACS IT

Trends in Email Threats

Email remains the most effective means of communication for personal and work accounts. As long as electronic messaging remains popular, criminals will keep attacking. 

Below are some of the developing trends for cyber-attack and their solutions:

    • Google has taken a front seat in the security of business accounts and infectious phishing scams. Every day GMAIL is blocking over 100 million phishing emails; this is in addition to the 240 million COVID-related phishing scams. Google is taking a proactive approach to protecting its G-Suite business email accounts by continually updating code.
    • Artificial Intelligence content interpretation is being applied to protect business and government interests. BEC Attacks (Business Email Compromise) tricks the user into paying for fraudulent invoices or subscriptions. At present, the technology is only applicable to English and German languages.
    • New threats are coming down the line every day. Threadjacking is a unique approach that transforms an email thread mid-sentence and inserts the attacker’s comments.  Attackers are scouring Outlook, Yahoo, and GMAIL for suitable threads for insertion. Since the email comes from a trusted party, attackers can deceive users into downloading the malicious code. Threadjacking has been applied extensively in ATT and Verizon mobile systems. The code is layered and hard to defend.
    • Excel has been used for years as a means to embed malicious code into attachments.  The attachment downloads a legitimate tool such as NetSupport Manager, which cyber-attackers use to manipulate a machine.
  • Keyloggers are attached to an Excel file, helping attackers to log in to bank accounts. 

BACS IT Dangers from Email Threats

Top 5: Dangerous Ransomware and Malware Code

Each of the following malware or ransomware programs has endless varieties. Cyber-criminals use malicious software to compromise email accounts. If a portion of code is not working on the target, the prepared cyber-attacker builds on that knowledge. Their team re-codes the application, making it more destructive and intrusive, then waits for the right opportunity.  

  • Social Engineering is one of the more recent additions to a well-rounded cyber-attack. This code is described as research and persuasion for the basis of spam and phishing scams spread by email. Attackers rely on the victim’s trust to steal data. Verizon’s Data Breach report says about 22% of intrusions involve social engineering and spoofing.

Most of the Fraud comes from attackers impersonating companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix. The FBI recorded over 25,00 incidents costing companies approximately $300 million.

  • Spam has been linked with email since the beginning. Spam is usually email advertising the next best thing in unwanted products or services. Statista reports that 60% of the world’s internet traffic is made up of spam. The most annoying and costly spam effect is the messages that choke email inboxes, culminating in lost time and productivity.

Another costly complication of spam, messages often carry malware code.

  • Ransomware and Trojans are the most recognizable malicious code of this group. Ransomware and trojans are examples of malicious malware code buried in emails. Verizon’s report again says of all the data breaches, 17% are the malware type, and of this group, 27% are vicious ransomware.  Ransomware uses advanced encryption to block files and then demand payment. Attackers usually want payment in the form of cryptocurrency.

Trojans are another dangerous malware code that gets into a system by hacking logins. Nomoreransom.org  is an organization that is fighting aggressive ransomware code.

  • DDoS and Botnets are alternative forms of malicious code. Botnets are a group of systems linked to the internet and controlled by a hacker. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is code that enters a machine by email and inundates the system with spam or phishing code.  These types of codes will send thousands of emails in a brief period. The objective is to overwhelm the system so hackers can penetrate a network unnoticed.
  • Spear Phishing and Phishing use fraudulent emails to steal money from a company and personal bank accounts.  In 2019 the FBI reported losses tolling $57 million from 119000 vicious attacks. Attackers will conduct a comprehensive analysis of their targets to make the scams more efficient.

An extensive report from Europol provides more frightening statistics on the widespread use of phishing. 65% of all the hacker groups worldwide use some form of phishing. In the shadowy world of espionage, 78% of these incidents have email phishing techniques.

Today’s cyber-criminals have access to a vast spectrum of malicious code, causing billions in lost money and productivity. New tendencies of these criminals are using social engineering on millions of unsuspecting users.  

Industry experts have agreed one of the fastest ways to combat the rising threats is by employee education.

Solutions Stem from an Increase in Email Threat Intelligence

What is the answer to email security?  For years, the same question has been given to so-called experts, and their same answer repeatedly is to educate the user. In our post, this statistic from above says it all: a staggering 48% of respondents  saying, “it cannot happen to me.”

The brightest minds in the world have been working on different solutions. Protection must start before malware hits the email inbox and eliminate the user altogether

Two Technologies that may provide answers:

  1.       Email Gateways
  2.       Endpoint Security

Email Gateways Powered By Artificial Intelligence

Email gateways can be deployed as a Cloud or on-premise solution.  Each email that comes through a business system is classified and will catch both known and unknown threats.  Advanced machine learning and AI are used to classify emails and block malicious messages with ransomware payloads.

The email gateway is a type of server where every email passes through and is analyzed for malicious code. Secure gateways allow businesses to control email before it hits the inbox. AI-powered gateways scan the email URL for suspicious delivery sites. Content is scanned, and any email deemed suspicious is taken out of the system and placed in a sandbox.

Various protective systems around the internet are getting involved. Granular email filtering is used to tag suspicious emails for later examination. The systems are designed to block various emails, including payment redirects and fraudulent vendor invoicing.

One of the strongest companies in the field of Email Gateways is Proofpoint.

Proofpoint

Proofpoint offers a complete lineup of products for email protection,  Advanced email threat protection, to Cloud Security.  Compliance is another string point for the company. They offer solutions to meet regulatory and corporate requirements while managing cost and complexity.

Endpoint Security

Managing Endpoints on the network has been in the crosshairs of developers for years. Threats come from every angle, which includes smartphones, tablets, watches, or any digital device. The approach is to protect every device by having a level of security.

Over several years, Endpoint security has evolved from the antivirus space to now include malware detection. Network administrators have complete control of what goes out and what comes into the network. Each connected device is controlled. If the device does not meet the requirements, it is not allowed access. Some administrators will only allow cursory access.

No other company has the resources to control endpoints more than Cisco.

Cisco

Cisco, the worldwide expert on connected devices, is reinventing what can be connected to global networks. The company is directing its efforts to Endpoint and Detection systems. Cisco has become heavily involved with Behavior-based detection and advanced machine learning models.

Cisco has been working steadily in the area of work-from-home safety solutions. The aim is to protect home users and their networks.

Cisco Solutions:

  • Hybrid Workforce to manage distributed devices from a central location.
  • Multi-Cloud solutions are designed for simpler access anywhere in the world.
  • Hybrid Workspaces are designed for automated connectivity and intelligent infrastructure.

Cutting Edge

The cutting edge of cyber-security and email changes daily. Tactics used by attackers shift from one attack point to the next instantaneously. Networks are under constant siege. Fresh approaches to cyber security are needed to transform the landscape.

Cutting-edge technologies are making cyber defenses stronger than ever before. Industry leaders have developed three cyber-security directives any company or governmental agency can follow.

Policy First

Companies must establish a sound policy or best practice, employees must follow. Without this direction, a worker can end up in treacherous waters.  Leaders must put down clear directions on employee cyber hygiene.

Policies must include how to handle incoming emails and what type of email is acceptable to send. Leaders must understand “Network Users are Securities Weakest Link.”

Behavior Analysis

With proper endpoint security, administrators can measure a companies’ network. The benefits tell how the network operates on a normal basis and detects any abnormal behaviors.  The approach goes beyond traditional procedures and can detect ransomware and malicious code with no prior digital signature.

With the proper monitoring, anomalous activities can be stopped, and infected devices can be removed.

Embrace Technology

Transformative technologies are continually coming online. Less human intervention is needed by machine learning systems that automatically learn from past experiences. Dramatic results in cost savings and improved productivity are seen.

Game-changing technologies such as EDR (endpoint detection and response) can monitor servers, mobile devices, and home computers in real-time. Any suspicious behavior is detected instantaneously, and actions against the threats are immediate.

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BACS IT Can Help with Email Threats, IT Threats, and IT Solutions

Companies, government agencies, and individuals must learn to embrace the new technologies that will inevitably be coming into focus. The brightest minds in the world have spent careers devoted to defeating the massive flood of cyber-attacks.  

To find out how to ensure the safety of your emails, contact us here at BACS IT. We are IT consultants in the Bay Area ready to help keep your business, your employees, and your data safe from email threats and more. When it comes to advanced threat protection for email accounts, BACS IT has you covered.

 

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BACS IT Top Five Cybersecurity Threats Facing the Financial Services Industry

Top Five Cybersecurity Threats Facing the Financial Services Industry

By | Data Protection, Security

The digital age has opened up an array of new and potentially vulnerable access points for cybercriminals to infiltrate your networks and its devices. Whether caused by a deliberate attack, human error, or a technical failure, a single data breach can prove catastrophic for businesses across industry sectors.

What Makes Financial Organizations Different? 

While all types of businesses are potential attack targets, financial services organizations face unique and elevated risks in terms of information security and data loss. According to one study, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the problem and is being blamed for a 238 percent increase in cyberattacks against banks and other financial organizations1.

As online banking and digital transactions continue to grow, safeguarding financial data and mission-critical systems becomes increasingly more challenging. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are uncovering new vulnerabilities and methods of exploitation, such as using artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to penetrate security defenses.

From reputational damage to ransomware and phishing attacks, financial institutions have a lot to worry about. Despite diligent planning and robust security practices, the financial services industry makes up 35 percent of all data breaches, earning it the unfortunate title of the most breached industry sector.

Maintaining consumer trust in the safe handling of their confidential data and assets is paramount for financial services companies. To ensure optimum protection and sustainability, security teams must implement robust defenses and be prepared to respond quickly to minimize damage, restore lost data, and ensure ongoing operation of systems and services. 

While technology and markets continue to evolve, one constant remains: The more sensitive the data is, the more it’s potentially worth and the more determined criminals are to steal it. Following are five of the biggest threats facing the financial services industry.

 

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Identity Theft and Data Manipulation

One particularly sneaky type of security threat for financial services organizations is an account takeover. In this type of attack, a criminal will gain access to a customer account and then change information so the real owner doesn’t have access and is unaware of the change. Criminals will often take it a step further by using those same log-in credentials to access other accounts the customer owns across multiple platforms. In some cases, they’ll also use the data they’ve collected to commit identity theft.     

 

BACS IT Phishing Problems for the Financial Services Industry

Phishing Attacks

Despite the many sophisticated hacking techniques criminals have at their disposal, many security breaches are the result of employee error, not intentional wrongdoing. For example, an employee might open a phishing email that installs malware on the bank’s network. (Incidentally, this technique was the most common type of cyberattack in 2016). The reasons for these types of mental errors or lapses in judgement vary widely, which makes eliminating them particularly challenging. In some instances, insufficient training is the culprit. In other cases, companies simply neglect to establish well-defined email usage protocols and safe operating procedures. Adding to the risk is the fact that more employees today are working remotely and are using devices not managed or controlled by IT. 

 

Mitigate Potential Threats To Your Organization

 

Ransomware

Ransomware attacks have grown in popularity in recent years as a favored extortion tactic by cybercriminals and other bad actors. To gain access to a company’s mission-critical systems and confidential data, these attacks might begin with a phishing email or by exploiting vulnerability, such as an outdated operating system. The best protection includes strong access controls, advanced network monitoring and analysis tools, good employee training, and rigorous data backup and retention policies. Considering the potential monetary and reputational damage that can be inflicted, ransomware attacks are especially dangerous. Due to its high profitability potential and increasing effectiveness, this technique is expected to continue to be a heavy favorite for high-value targets.

Third-Party Vendors

The more network and device entry points an organization has, the more opportunities criminals have to penetrate its defenses. That’s precisely why working with third-party vendors can significantly increase the risk of a data breach. While banking and financial institutions typically have sufficient security resources and have invested heavily in data protection measures, many vendors themselves are usually smaller operations with fewer protections in place, less enforcement protocols, and less knowledge in cybersecurity technology. In addition, they often have their own IT security platforms and configurations that are outside your control, making it more difficult to secure your network and IT environment.

Emerging Technologies

As technology continues to evolve, criminals are finding new security vulnerabilities and methods to gain access to confidential financial systems and records. Meanwhile, the opportunities for fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks in financial services present an array of new risks, including supply chain vulnerabilities and network breaches. Likewise, many of today’s new web-based applications can pose data security threats by circumventing normal security protocols. While these apps are intended to make it easier for users to share files and collaborate, they can be vulnerable to attack because of their reliance on users for proper input and their diligence in following defined security protocols.

 

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Staying Ahead of Cybersecurity Threats is Easier with BACS IT

Although companies operating in the financial sector understand the need to safeguard data, many struggle to implement effective protections without undermining other business priorities. Meanwhile, as systems and applications become more decentralized and dispersed, weaknesses and vulnerabilities become more difficult to recognize.

While there’s no single best strategy or surefire method of securing financial data and assets, a proactive approach can put your organization in the best position to mitigate risks while helping to ensure fast, effective disaster recovery. That’s why it’s critical to engage with an experienced cybersecurity expert who understands the unique security threats your business faces and can devise a plan that will effectively align with your priorities and support your long term goals. Reach out to us here at BACS IT today. We provide managed IT services for financial institutions and are here to help. Let us provide a free IT assessment to see where you stand!

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

 

1 VMware Report, Modern Bank Heists 3.0: Twenty-five CISOs from leading financial institutions reveal their thoughts on the 2020 attack landscape, (May 2020).

Avoid a Security Lapse During an Infrastructure Improvement BACS IT

Avoiding a Security Lapse During Infrastructure Improvements

By | Business Continuity, Data Protection, managed It services, Productivity, Security, Technology

The pace of technology innovation continues to accelerate. New versions of software are launched every day to keep businesses on the cutting edge of digital transformation and customer service. Frequent technology upgrades and modernization of enterprise systems is no longer an option―it’s a requirement in today’s highly-competitive business environment. 

While ongoing infrastructure improvements are essential for sustained business growth, these projects can also create unintended (and sometimes dangerous) gaps in your security framework. Without proper planning and a clear blueprint, what may seem like run-of-the-mill system upgrade can instead create the perfect opportunity for a cybercriminal to attack hidden weaknesses and breach your defenses.

Keeping systems and data safe and secure in an era of escalating threats requires a well-planned, proactive approach―built around best practice measures, smart policies, and a defined security framework that aligns with your business goals.  Following are some of the common challenges that can elevate your security risk when implementing new technology or modernizing existing infrastructure

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Lack of Visibility

Maintaining a clear view of all devices and network assets across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure is critical to ensure optimum protection. The challenge for many organizations lies in the reliance on disparate, outdated systems to track and monitor network activity. Optimum protection can be best achieved by relying on more centralized security platforms that allow you to automate network discovery, improve visibility and quickly identify attack points, irregularities, patterns and other suspicious activity. Compared with point tools, these integrated systems require fewer IT resources to maintain effective threat protection. Every upgrade project has its own set of risks and benefits. While implementation speed is important, it should never supersede the need to keep systems and data safe and secure.   

 

Strategic Network Management

Poor Integration

The best approach to minimizing risk in technology deployments is finding an optimum balance between speed, flexibility, and security.  A common challenge in many IT environments is the diverse range of disparate security platforms from a variety of vendors. Meanwhile, legacy technology requires increased IT resources and support as they age. Eventually, these growing inadequacies and service demands can create dangerous security gaps, integration barriers, and scalability challenges. Disconnected systems and components make information sharing difficult, creating a recurring challenge for IT teams responsible for monitoring potential threats across the enterprise. Disjointed communication leads to unreliable processes and protocols. Left unaddressed, these concerns create uncertainty about what to do in the event of a threat and who’s responsible.  

Inadequate Planning

Today’s top-performing companies operate with some of the best digital technology available, yet many are still unable to prevent a near catastrophic security breach. Poor risk assessment and a lack of planning are among the top reasons. Infrastructure planning must take into account the present, along with the future, so it’s important to integrate security into your operational and infrastructure foundation from the beginning.  In planning a technology upgrade, it’s important to look beyond the potential cost savings and make decisions in the context of sustainability and long-term goals. That means carefully considering your security requirements, computing needs, resources, and many other factors. It’s complicated, and often involves trade-offs with significant strategic impact.  

 

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Substandard Monitoring

As your infrastructure expands and evolves, problems can emerge, including redundancies, inefficiencies, and performance gaps. The problem is only compounded in the midst of a technology upgrade. The temporary disruption of systems and applications can make it difficult to determine what components are secure and which ones are not. This is where network monitoring can provide substantial value, conveying critical insights that can help identify gaps in application and perimeter defenses by notifying you of potential problems before any damage actually occurs. Rather than waiting for problems to materialize, you can proactively identify areas that are vulnerable and take action before they impact your business. Regular infrastructure monitoring can also provide an accurate audit trail when investigating an incident.

Disorganized Response Handling

To effectively safeguard business data and assets, it’s important to close the gaps and address the vulnerabilities that other improvement projects might create. That includes setting up a defined plan for how security incidents should be reported and resolved. In the event of a problem, clear communication is as important as solving the underlying technical issue.  It’s essential that everyone impacted by an event clearly understands their responsibilities and the role they play in the recovery effort. This is particularly important when working with third-party providers. Should an outage occur, you need to have confidence in your recovery plan to know exactly how long it will take for the business to be back online―with systems restored and critical data intact.    

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Make Security a Business Priority with Help from BACS IT

Preventing a security lapse during an infrastructure upgrade requires careful planning and an operating culture firmly focused on safeguarding data and mitigating risk. Although there is no way to defend against all types of attacks, new tools and techniques for detecting and identifying threats can help protect data without hindering  mobility or productivity. 

While staying on the cutting edge of hardware and software advancements is critical to business growth, maintaining world-class security and business continuity is a vital component to ongoing sustainability and success.